Review: The Ballad of Darcy and Russell by Morgan Matson

The Ballad of Darcy and Russell by Morgan Matson

The Ballad of Darcy and Russell
Morgan Matson
Simon & Schuster
Published May 7, 2024

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About The Ballad of Darcy and Russell

Darcy believes in love at first sight. Even though it’s never happened to her, she’s spent her whole life waiting for that magical moment, hoping that when she meets the right guy, everything will fall into place perfectly.

But right now, her life is anything but perfect. Heading home from a music festival, engine trouble means she’s stranded at a Nevada bus station until morning. Even worse, it’s the day before she leaves for college, her phone is dead, and she has no cash. Darcy’s convinced nothing good can come of this night…but then she meets Russell. Cute, nice, funny, and kind, this is the guy—and the moment—she’s been waiting for. As they walk and talk, the two connect, and Darcy is able to put aside all her fears and doubts about the future to focus on this perfect guy.

Over the course of one fateful night, Darcy and Russell discover things they never imagined about each other and themselves. But can you really know someone after only a handful of hours? Is it possible to fall in love in less than day? Before they part, both their lives will be changed, and Darcy and Russell will have to decide if it’s worth saying hello when you know you’re destined for a goodbye.

The Ballad of Darcy and Russell on Goodreads

My Review

Until this book, I’d never read anything by Morgan Matson, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The swoony storytelling reminds me a bit of Kasie West, but with a little bit more physical romance. The Ballad of Darcy and Russell features big, blended families and complicated relationships with parents as Darcy and Russell transition from high school to college.

The only part that really gave me pause in the story is near the beginning, when Darcy and Russell meet and leave the bus station together to look for a phone charger. If Darcy were my friend, I would have encouraged her not to leave the bus station with someone she’d never met, especially if she didn’t have the ability to use her cell phone. At first, I thought they left the bus station at night, but then I think it turned out to be late afternoon.

I wanted to enjoy the romance blossoming between Darcy and Russell, so I put all that aside as the story progressed. Their exchanges over puns and fun facts were cute and highlighted their well-suited relationship. The information reveals happened at great moments, and Darcy’s reaction made a lot of sense. Her response to unexpectedly meeting a large group of people made sense, too.

The descriptions of everyone hanging out together and the ease between them despite the nature of some of their relationships felt genuine. It made me want to hang out with a group like that. Those scenes really captured how inviting that crew was and how much Darcy longed for connections, even if she didn’t recognize it at first.

All in all, this was a fun summer romance. It’s exactly right for a beach or poolside afternoon.

The Ballad of Darcy and Russell on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

A few minor characters are BIPOC. Two girls (minor characters) are in a relationship. Lots of sets of twins mentioned or appearing in the book.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
A small number of F-bombs scattered throughout. No other swearing.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. A couple swims in their underwear and kisses. One scene shows a couple tumble into bed and then fades to black after clarifying that each partner checks in with the other and makes sure they’re okay at every phase of the encounter.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
References to a bus station in Vegas at night not being the safest place for a girl traveling alone.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use but help support this blog. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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